Monthly Archives: March 2011

Homeschoolers in a Mainstream Commercial!

Labels: This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time – Butterfly Mania

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This week we continued with a “spring” and “insects” theme. Sadly, our ladybug larvae still have not arrived. I guess they are the ones that couldn’t be shipped during cold temperatures. Our worms continue to thrive, though Dora is no longer interested in them. Her interest has transferred to the caterpillars, which are growing nicely. It may be that they will be ready to form chrysalis some time next week.
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In preparation for our new butterfly friends, I took Dora to the Pacific Science Center, which has a year-round butterfly display. Dora was very interested in the butterflies and enjoying herself until one of them decided to take up residence on my foot. Every time I gently shook the fellow off my foot, it flew right back to me. This really freaked her out, so we had to leave at that point. Fortunately, we had spent quite some time there already. Some of the butterflies in the display will land on the ground, so one needs to be careful not to step on them. I was very happy to see Dora actually taking this seriously and not running or poking the butterflies. She does not always exhibit such tender care when dealing with our household pets, so I had been a bit worried.

Additionally, I brought out this 5-layer butterfly puzzle to do with Dora. It was too complicated for her to do all the layers, but she enjoyed seeing the stages of a butterfly’s life. At first, she didn’t want to look at the caterpillar and chrysalis, but then her eagerness to learn about them overcame her squeamishness.
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We made coffee filter butterflies for a butterfly-themed craft. I had planned to paint the coffee filters with watercolors, but Dora was not interested in watercolors, having recently used them in a painting book. So I tempted her with markers, which are a treat for her as I have to store them out of her reach, since she writes on the walls and furniture with them otherwise. The method we found that worked best to use markers was to stack 2-3 coffee filters together, color them well, and then mist the filters with a squirt bottle. The colors ran together in a nice abstract way. Gohan even got in on the action and did a lot of experimentation with misting lightly vs. more heavily. We found that if we didn’t stack 2-3 filters together, all of the ink would run on the table and the design would be washed out. We then used pipe cleaners to form the body and antennae.

For butterfly-themed reading, we enjoyed the variety of fact and fiction that these books provided:
 

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In addition to studying butterflies, I learned that Dora really likes working with plants. We went to Molbak’s, which is a lovely nursery near us. It is actually a bit of a tourist attraction, complete with its own café, if you are ever in the Seattle area. Dora’s favorite part of the store was the fountains and we had to spend quite a bit of time looking at them. She also really enjoyed picking out her own flowers and seeds. Later, she enjoyed “helping” me to plant them and the other flowers I bought. Unfortunately, she doe not quite grasp the concept of planting flowers and burying only the roots. She seems to feel that we should also cover the actual flowers in dirt, so I had to spend a great deal of time rescuing our flowers from her efforts. Still, it was nice to see her so excited about gardening. I can’t wait to see her face when her seeds begin to grow. She and Gohan picked out these gnome and mushroom figurines at Target, which I thought were just too cute.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Finally, Mr. Mo introduced her to the sounds of crickets and frogs, which we have an abundance of around us, since we live right next to two water retaining ponds. Mr. Mo taught her that if she wanted to listen to them, she had to be quiet, which was quite a challenge for our little chatterbox. When she got too loud, all of the crickets and frogs got quiet. She found this fascinating and proceeded to take the rest of us outside to observe this phenomenon.
I’m linking this post to:
Shibley Smiles Tot School
We Play

 

Labels: Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Teaching Company Sale Ends Tomorrow

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Labels: Educator Discounts and Curriculum Sales
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschool Mother’s Journal–March 25

In my life this week… This week was largely dominated by Tertia getting her wisdom  teeth removed. In addition, our family was busy with Secunda’s securing references for a college scholarship that she is applying for (she was accepted to the school of her choice in November and more recently accepted to the teaching college, which has its own application and scholarship process). Then, she and Tertia also had several job interviews. Tertia was finishing up her quarter at community college (she takes classes there through a high school program) by attending observations at various vet clinics for the vet program that she is in. This was all in contrast to me dealing with Dora’s napping (or I should say lack-of-napping) issues, so it felt a bit surreal at times.
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In our homeschool this week… We continued working on our unit study of earthquakes and tsunamis. We did the liquefication lab and that was a big hit with Gohan. We added a knight to see how he faired and it was not pretty. I personally have found the idea of being somewhere sandy during an earthquake terrifying ever since I read about Port Royal (note the top of page 4 of this document):

The ground opened up in different places simultaneously and `Swallow’d up Multitudes of People together.’ One resident claimed that many `who were swallowed up alive in the ground were spewed up again’.

Given that Gohan asked me to design his math lessons the same way I designed his science, I think I can safely assume that the unit study approach is a hit with him. Unfortunately, I am not up to designing all of his math also. We did also start reading The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (book two in the series). It has been an enjoyable read thus far, but I will have to hold off on my opinion until we see where the story is going.

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Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… We had a very busy week with running errands, doctor’s appointments, classes, and so forth. We went to the Pacific Science Center and Gohan went to the Star Wars exhibit, but felt that it was boring. Gohan also attended his first class at our local homeschool co-op. It went well and he finally agreed to enroll in the co-op for next year, once he learned that they will be offering electronics (he greatly dislikes the windowless basement that most of the co-op is in). Unfortunately, by the time he agreed to allow me to register him, the electronics, glass fusing, and forensics classes already had waitlists. So I am not sure if he will get in them. I also signed Dora up for some of the preschool classes they offer, though it may be that she will be too young for them as she does not turn three until October.

My favorite thing this week was… Finally starting to read The Life of Pi. I’ve only read the Pre-face and Chapter 1, but so far the book is really is as good as everyone says it is.

What’s working/not working for us… At the moment, I feel like all of Gohan’s curriculum is working. I suppose the only that is not working is the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day and that we, as humans, require sleep. I am not aware of any solutions for those issues, however, so we will continue to plod along fitting in as many things as we can and still remain healthy, happy, and sane.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have… What math curriculum do I want to use with Gohan next year. We still haven’t found the right program for him. Every time I settle on one for next year, something makes me change my mind. I am currently considering Singapore’s new Discovering Mathematics series (we did not enjoy the older elementary math books, but it sounds like our issues with those are resolved in these), the Art of Problem Solving’s sequence (what would I use for pre-algebra if I do this?), Kinetic Books (how hard is it to flip back to previous lessons with this computer-based curriculum and can Gohan skip lectures), and Saxon (with my older kids, we did not like Saxon in the upper math books, but Saxon has rewritten them and added a Geometry book).

A photo, video, link, or quote to share… “The great tragedy of Science – the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.” – Thomas Henry Huxley, Collected Essays

I’m linking to:

Labels: Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschool Mother’s Journal–March 18th

In my life this week… In the event that everyone is not completely sick of hearing about my sinuses, the CT scan came back and it ends up my sinuses are just a royal mess. Most significantly, the polyp is actually a mucocele. I see the ENT in 10 days and will almost certainly be having surgery shortly thereafter. After which, I hopefully won’t feel like I have a cold all the time.

Primary Waves

In our homeschool this week… We started working on our unit study of earthquakes and tsunamis. Gohan really seemed to like the unit study/lapbook approach. He also enjoyed the seismic waves experiment, though he managed to ruin two Slinkies! We also finished up on rocks, by breaking open some geodes.

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Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… My mother-in-law was here this week and we had a good visit with. We also had some milder weather, so spent hours at parks and in the yard. Finally, Dora and I attended my very first LLL meeting – it was a toddler group and Dora was the oldest child there, but it was empowering for me and fun for her.

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My favorite thing this week was… Getting to work in the yard. Dora helped me plant some bulbs. The older I get, the more I seem to NEED to be outside some every day in order to  maintain my sanity.

What’s working/not working for us… In geography, Gohan rebelled against doing the pushpin map of Europe due to the sheer number of countries, so we skipped the capitals. I am going to have to reconsider what we’re going to do for Africa. I am contemplating using these free mapping sheets from Homeschool Creations.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have… The local co-op published it’s schedule and they will be offering three preschool classes, so I am just going to enroll Dora there, instead of joining an actual preschool co-op

A photo, video, link, or quote to share… Here is a view from one of my early morning rides (taken with my new iPhone of course!).

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I’m linking to:

Labels: Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time–Getting Wormy

Worms 060I had a really nice plan for Dora for the month of March. Unfortunately, it was messed up by the weather. I had planned to study a different bug each week, by having different live specimens arrive each week. Well, a couple of weeks ago, I received a not informing me that my bugs would not be arriving on time, due to the extremely cold temperatures we had been having (the bugs would die in transport). So this week we had caterpillars and worms arrive the same day. Dora hasn’t been too interested in the caterpillars, but she and Gohan have been fascinated by the worms. We have a Worm Vue Wonders kit for the worms to live in.Right now, we got the worms set up in their house and have fed them. Gohan is taking them out every day and Dora likes to look at them in his hand. She won’t touch them though. We haven’t done any of the experiments yet.
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Mostly, we spent every free moment we had this week with my mother-in-law and/or outside since we had some nice weather.

I’m linking this post to:
Shibley Smiles Tot School
image We Play

 

 

Labels: Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Earthquake and Tsunami Unit Study and Lapbook

Fault Foldable

Gohan was already studying earthquakes in K12’s earth science course when the big earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. I had already been planning to switch to more of a unit study/lapbook approach for science anyway, so I decided to create a unit plan/lapbook for Gohan to study earthquakes and tsunami’s in more detail. I’m going to post the foldables that I created now, even though we have not finished the lapbook ourselves, just because of the timeliness of the subject. As such, there could be some inks that I have not worked out. Please let me know if you find any mistakes.

My lesson plan uses Brainpop videos. Currently, Brainpop is making their Earthquake and Tsunami videos free for everyone, in order to help kids better understand what has happened in Japan.

Fault Foldable 

Labels: Apps, Blogging Business, Freebies, Printables, Science
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time – It’s Flubbertastic!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         I still haven’t gotten back into a real grove with Dora. I finally went to the doctor and learned that I have a nasal polyp, which is why it seems like I can’t shake this cold. My doctor is trying me on steroids, but I may need to have it surgically removed. In the interim, I’m feeling a bit run down.

I did take Dora to gymnastics this week. I may not go to this gymnastics school anymore, however, as they have a whole bunch of junk food machines right outside the door of her class. Dora doesn’t even like candy and so forth, but the bright colors are a major temptation to her. I’m not super health conscious, but I have some issues with taking my child to exercise at a place that has candy, chips, soda, etc. right outside the door of the classroom. It seems like making a buck is more important to them than promoting a healthy lifestyle – like we don’t get enough of that elsewhere.

I decided to forgo on making play dough this month as Dora just doesn’t seem to enjoy playing with it. Instead, we made flubber, using a recipe from CanTeach. I had thought that we would make it green for St. Patrick’s Day, but Dora insisted on blue. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. Elmers Glue
  • Food Coloring
  • 4 tsp. Borax
  • Warm water

Method:

In one bowl mix in 1 1/2 cups of warm water, 2 cups of Elmers Glue, and food colouring. In another bowl mix in 4 tsp. of Borax and 1 1/3 cup of warm water. Pour the glue mixture into the borax mixture. Do not mix or stir, just wait. Then just lift out the flubber. Store in baggies.

I did find that we needed to wait a bit longer than I expected, before all of the flubber was ready, maybe five minutes. Dora enjoyed playing with the flubber for a while, but like the play dough, not for very long. I think part of the problem is that she is sensitive to textures, so doesn’t really like touching things like flubber and play dough. We went through this with Primo, who actually has Asperger’s Syndrome, which often is associated with sensory integration issues (I also have some pretty major sensory issues).

I’m linking this post to:
Shibley Smiles Tot School

 play academy

 

Labels: Arts and Crafts, High School, Montessori, Summer, This and That, Toddlers, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal–March 11th

In my life this week… As I mentioned in my previous post, I learned that I have a nasal polyp, which is why I have felt like I couldn’t shake the cold I have. I am now taking steroids and hoping that they can resolve the problem. Still, it feels good to know I don’t have some strange, never-ending cold. I do feel better after one day on the steroids.

In our homeschool this week… We did a good job of finishing all of Gohan’s work this week. We found that doing things on a block schedule worked very well for several subjects, such as science, geography, vocabulary, etc. Spelling, literature, and math don’t work so well for block schedules and need to be done daily, but otherwise, the block scheduling worked so well. We definitely plan to continue using a block schedule. We finally finished The Mysterious Benedict Society! It definitely had a big surprise for us at the end, which I did not see coming at all (for those who have read it, I am referring to Candace’s birthday party).

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… Gohan is really enjoying being back at the ALE that he used to attend. He has lots of friends there. The bad news is that he has decided that he no longer likes the Tweenzone program at the YMCA. He does not like having to change from out of swim clothes he says, plus he is tired of doing the same thing every week. So we signed him up for PE at the local homeschool co-op, which is actually just down the road from us. He has always been resistant to this co-op, but is willing to take PE there.

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My favorite thing this week was… Fitting all my bike rides in this week. After being sick and having such bad weather for so long, this felt really good, even when I had to bike 10 miles in pouring rain!

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What’s working/not working for us… All about Spelling is really working for us. The funny thing is that it is helping me with spelling also! Science is not working so well. I think I am just going to do my own lesson planning for the rest of the school year, using K12 as a guide about what to cover. K12 is just too demanding for Gohan. He especially has trouble with the unit reviews and tests when he has to refer back to previous lessons to look things up (taking notes is not going to happen with him yet). He definitely  needs an actual book to refer to. I guess the cost of the curriculum was worth learning something new about meeting his learning needs.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have… I’m debating enrolling Dora in a homeschool preschool co-op for next year. I’m leaning towards not, since she does not seem to like structured activities much and gets to play with so many kids at Gohan’s ALE (younger siblings).

A photo, video, link, or quote to share… Spring is beginning to show itself around here!

Labels: Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Pushpin Map of Europe

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Gohan has started studying Europe and I made the pushpin map for him to use. These work really well for him as he can focus on geography, free of the stress of having to spell and write the labels himself. If you would like to use these yourself, you need to simply mount an outline map on to foam board or cardboard. I have an outline map from the Trail Guide to World Geography curriculum, but good free maps can be found at infoplease, worldatlas, National Geographic’s Xpeditions Atlas (be sure that detail level is basic and country borders are on) and Eduplace. I use Mod Podge to give a protective coating to the map. Then print out the labels and wrap them around a pin. This time, I used glue tape to glue the two sides of the label together. I’ve also used regular glue and suspect that tape would work.

Europe Map Pin Labels-1

Labels: Apps, Blogging Business, Geography, Printables, Social Studies
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff